What is PPC? Why are these strange ads by Google appearing above your search results, and how can you leverage these to grow your business?
PPC stands for “pay per click.” In other words, when they click; you pay. It works like this: online advertising products, such as Google Adwords, allow you to bid on ad space for specified and (optionally) related keywords. Set up a budget, and every time your ad performs, you pay the amount you’ve bid.
The benefit of leveraging these ads by Google is instant exposure. Unlike organic SEO, which often entails a slow but steady climb to the top of search rankings, you’ll instantly appear to the side of – or even above – organic search results. Think of it like those VIP passes to the front of the line that you can pay a little extra for at theme parks.
Before you press on with your PPC campaign, you’ll want to take the time to define your goals. Are you looking to increase your brand’s exposure on your web, sell a new, must-have product to the masses, or generate new leads?
If you’re clear on the purpose of your pay per click search campaign, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and take the first step.
Ingredient #1: Keywords
Choose your keywords wisely. You don’t want to make assumptions when selecting keywords for your pay per click search campaign. A term may be commonly used and seemingly important within your vertical, but that doesn’t guarantee that your intended audience is using it in their search queries. Google provides some very useful keyword research tools at no cost, such as the Adwords Keyword Tool (look up search volumes) Google Insights (compare search volumes) to help you do your homework. Make the effort, and you’ll more likely get the results you’re after.
Also, familiarize yourself with the available keyword matching options. If you don’t know the difference between broad, phrase, exact and negative match, it’s time to learn some ads by Google basics.
As you might expect, “exact match” terms precisely match your targeted keywords, leaving no room for variation. For instance, if you’re intending to target the keyword, “cheap shoes,” the exact match ad will appear only to those who enter the specific term “cheap shoes.” Your ad won’t show for a similar query, such as “cheap shoes online.”
If you’re looking for a slightly less stringent option and like the idea of showing for similar search queries, then “phrase match” may be for you. These ads show for search queries containing the terms found in your keyword but allow for some variation (e.g. “cheap shoes brooklyn” or “where to buy cheap shoes”).
Should you desire to reach out to the widest audience possible and don’t mind the idea of your ad appearing to those who search for terms whose relation to your keyword is tenuous at best in some cases, then broad match might be your answer. Just keep in mind that a person searching for something along the lines of “cheap shoes photos” may not be the most qualified lead for making an actual purchase.
Want to guess what “negative match” means? Add a hyphen next to a keyword, and you can be assured that you won’t appear for it. Use this option if you’re adamant about not showing up for a specific term. Perhaps you’re selling cheap shoes, but you don’t deal in used cheap shoes. Enter “cheap shoes” and “-used” as your keywords, and you won’t have to worry about attracting the wrong audience with ads by Google. You might consider adding “-free” if you’re not giving away your product or service.
Ingredient #2 Copy
Hopefully we’ve helped you organize a lean, mean list of keywords. Now it’s time to write your ad. This part is important, so if you’re not confident in your copywriting, find someone who’s a superstar. You’re going to need cracking good ad copy with an enticing call to action if you want your ads to perform. You may think you’re up to the challenge, but keep in mind that you’re limited to a mere 25 characters. Make them count!
Also, don’t overdo it. You may strongly believe in your own brand, but if you lay the superlatives on thick, you’re running the risk of having your ads removed.
Ingredient #3: Landing Page
So you’ve launched your ad; it’s the most carefully-considered, well-worded, highly-targeted and effective pay per click search ad ever displayed on the internet. Every prospective lead who views your fine work gets the uncontrollable urge to click through to your website.
Excellent work, but you’re not done yet.
Your efforts can still go to waste if you haven’t implemented an effective landing page to seal the deal. If you want your visitors to convert (i.e. perform a specific action on your website), you’re going to have to learn a thing or two about conversion rate optimization. Fortunately, we’ve already covered the bulk of what you need to know in the link provided.
Crafting a clean, professional landing page with credibility indicators, clear calls to action, and enticing offers to allure your visitors is both an art and a science. Don’t fret if your very first crack at a landing page doesn’t produce the results you’d like. You can continually tweak your work and analyze the comparison data in Google Analytics and the Google Website Optimizer tool until you’ve achieved your pay per click search goals.
We hope that answers any and all PPC-related questions you may have. Hopefully, you’ll now have an arsenal of information at the ready next time a colleague of yours asks, “What is PPC?”